Fuck Halloween, Nicky thought, as he cruised Eastern Ave in his ’03 Buick Century. Once you get past the munchkin stage, it’s all about the skanks teasin’ it up in costume. Back in the day, he’d heard a guy on the Stern show say: The metaphor for American sexuality is the strip club. One big tease. He’d just come from a Halloween party ripe with high school trim. These chicks, he thought—too Catholic to do the deed sober, and delusional enough to think their morals had any fiber. They were all easy for him. Even at 19, you could say he knew how to spit some game. Nicky fancied himself a soothsayer of sorts. He’d made predictions. They’d always taken the piss out of him, anytime he came up short. A couple of times he’d been on the mark. But he never bought into his own hype. He wished he could do it for real.

He watched them: kids and parents crushing dead leaves on the sidewalk between triple-deckers. Their bodies clustered together —like sheep, maybe. Although, he’d never seen sheep. Decked out in plastic disguises. Promoting anime characters, and iconic Disney stereotypes, complete with corporate logos you could see from the Ave. CVS seasonal specials they’d bought last night; headed for a landfill by the Tuesday pick up. 

Lynn, Lynn, city of sin—that’s what people called it. So many kids he knew—methed out like zombies. But Nicky knew he was mostly clean, although he didn’t squeak. Someday he’d leave town, unlike his boys. For the time being, he did the next best thing. Cruising the eastside towards Swampscott. The sugary orange sweetness filled his mouth and tickled his tongue as he tipped the bottle and took a swig of MD20/20. Once he passed Kiley playground, the real estate got a lot nicer. He liked the houses over that way.

So what was Halloween good for? Nicky had one thing in mind—a B and E. Not some strong-arm move on Big Brothers Food Mart on Chestnut street, but something cool and calculated. Sure, people were home on Halloween, but they stayed close to the front door. Besides, he’d cased the joint out two weeks in advance. He knew where they kept it—it was something very specific. Something a rich kid had told him about in church. Not mass, but A.A. St. John’s. One Step at a time.

The rich kid had some antiquated Ouija board. Not one by Parker Brothers—but a wooden one, with devils etched into it. The rich kid said he and his cousins had gathered around the fireplace, and conjured up his dead grandmother, who’d called and begged for them to walk into the flames. Sure the kid was a drunk, but not your average drunk. That was the story Nicky got when he’d callously asked the kid about the burn scarring that covered three-quarters of his face and neck. The rich kid even had Nicky over and shown it to him. The board smelled like the rich kid’s burns. 

Nicky turned down Lott Street, a private drive. The steeper the real estate, the less streetlights there were to light your way. It was then he could see the moon was in full lunar eclipse: a blood moon. Something rushed in front of the car.  Nicky locked up the breaks. As he turned into it, he felt the jolt from the steering wheel to his heart, as his whole body felt the kinetic impact against the front fender. 

Nicky threw the Century in park and bolted out to see what he’d hit. It was a raccoon. It was huge. Maybe 35 pounds. He poked at it with a stick. Nothing. No blood. It appeared to be sleeping, but it wasn’t. He decided he’d hit it just hard enough to rip loose its life essence. That night he’d had a premonition that he’d kill someone. Something. There was a rustling in the leaves, that spun his head around. The dead leaves danced on air. Just a gust of wind. He saw his own breath wisping, waning in the headlight like an apparition. When he looked back at the street below the front fender, the raccoon was gone. 

He scanned the street looking for the piercing glow of its beady eyes, the motion of its skulking body, but he saw nothing. It was at that moment Nicky thought about turning the car around and heading back downtown. It wasn’t too late to hit the corner packie, get himself another bottle. Maybe score some drunken puss in Ugg boots and a skintight costume. Maybe even get himself some head in the front seat. But then he’d never know how it would all end. What would happen next. Where his life was headed. He’d only see it as it happened in the moment. He needed to know what was coming. 

Nicky got back behind the wheel. Objects in mirror may be closer than they appear. The house he needed was at the very end. By now his eyes had adjusted to the darkness. He switched off his headlamps and rolled down Lott Street, toward the even light.

About The Author

Johnny Blade isn’t afraid of the dark stuff. It’s the illumination that people will live, die or kill for. An Illuminati associate, he writes screenplays inside the four walls of a tiny Los Angeles apartment.

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